At the end of November 2014, BAM friend Leon McCarron and Tom Allen set off for Patagonia to follow the Santa Cruz river across the country. Their journey was inspired by the story of the first European exploration of the river, undertaken by Captain FitzRoy in 1834.
He had been charged with charting the coastline of South America, and his crew included a very young and very impressionable Charles Darwin, who fancied himself as a bit of a geologist and amateur explorer. Both FitzRoy and Darwin left detailed writings of their journey along the river which, sadly, ultimately ended in their failure to find the source (though they came heartbreakingly close.)
Leon, Tom and their friend Jose used these diaries to make a journey in the footsteps of FitzRoy and Darwin, travelling through the steppe on horseback from the Atlantic Ocean to the foothills of the Andes and the vast Lake Argentina that feeds the Santa Cruz.
There was another reason for their trip, too – in February 2015, construction is due to begin on two dams, which will flood huge sections of the valley and change the ecosystem and landscape completely.
Leon, Tom and Jose were not just following in the footsteps of the first explorers; they were perhaps simultaneously the last explorers ever to see the Rio Santa Cruz before it changes forever.
On Leon’s return we quizzed him on the BAM gear he took with him.
So Leon, why take BAM’s bamboo clothing with you to Patagonia?
“On these expeditions, choosing the right kit is so important. There is nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of nowhere with under-performing gear. That’s why I love BAM – I know that the clothing is 100% reliable. I’m committed to using BAM clothing because of how flexible it is – it’s just as useful during the start and end of expeditions when I’m sitting around in hostels and coffee shops poring over maps and making last minute plans. It’s invaluable to have clothing that is so functional in all scenarios.”
What is the your favourite piece of BAM kit?
“A BAM long-sleeve baselayer is always the first bit of kit I pack. I take a couple of T-shirts too for the warmer days, and a Performance Hoody to wrap up in when the wind picks up. Out in the Patagonian steppe I was more grateful than ever for the comfort factor of bamboo clothing. I’ve never been anywhere quite so windy, and sitting on a horse all day could have left me chilled to the bone. Luckily, wrapped up in a baselayer and hoody I was absolutely fine!”
- You can follow Leon on Twitter – @leonmccarron
- Read his blog – www.leonmccarron.com
- See his latest adventure film – Karun
- Read his book – The Road Headed West: A Cycling Adventure Through North America
- and buy his clothes 🙂 – bambooclothing.co.uk